The Van Alstyne boys’ basketball team, and its fans, celebrated Zach Davis Night at Panther Gym on Feb. 7. It couldn’t have had a better ending.
Davis, the only senior in the school’s basketball programs, scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the Panthers 59-47 win over Pilot Point.
The win kept the teams’ record perfect on the home court with 11 wins. The only losses this season came at Sunnyvale, Gunter and at Allen in the Dickey’s Barbecue, In-N-Out Burgers Tournament where it lost again to Sunnyvale.
Davis had a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter and that was offsetting the inside work of Stephen Richter of Pilot Point. Richter scored the first six points for the Bearcats. Colin McCaskill, who finished with 15 points for Van Alstyne, also scored six points in the first quarter. Davis’ second 3-ball from the top of the arc and a Seth Caraway deuce as he drove the lane, put the Panthers up 15-11 at the end of the period.
The Bearcats had shooters with range, as well, and a 3-pointer by Randy Peggs tied the game at 17-17 early in the second period. McCaskill quickly broke that deadlock, scoring on a turn-around jumper in the lane. Jared McMakin bumped the edge to four with a floater, before Josh Wardle cut the lead to one with his 3-point shot for the Bearcats. Van Alstyne went on an 8-0 run to close out the first half, keyed by the outside shooting of Bailey Thorpe. Thorpe’s most comfortable range is about two steps outside the 3-point arc, and he drained a pair of 21-footers in the closing minutes of the half.
After Harrison Awe had taken a charge at the defensive end, McCaskill sent in a shot to give the Panthers a 31-20 lead at intermission.
Isaiah Boling started the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer from the corner, while Davis added a pair of baskets from inside the arc to keep the Panthers in command. Boling finished with five points, six assists and five rebounds. The visitors were making some noise from downtown, as well, getting three consecutive 3-pointers to keep pace with the Panthers.
Three-pointers by Awe and Davis closed out the third period for the Panthers, who saw the Bearcats trim the lead to just five, heading into the final frame. Pilot Point got the lead down to four as the fourth period started, but could get no closer.
After McCaskill missed on two shots from the free-throw line, he stepped into a 3-pointer at the top and drained it to push the lead back to seven. A Davis three got the advantage back to 10 and the visitors were pretty much done.
Over the final two minutes Van Alstyne made 4-of-7 from the charity stripe and closed out Zach Davis night, winning by a dozen.
The Panthers will wrap up the regular season Tuesday night in Caddo Mills and meet Tom Bean from District 11-2A in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
Pilot Point 11 9 19 8 — 47
Van Alstyne 15 16 13 15 — 59
VA(24-3)(9-2): Zach Davis 18. Colin McCaskill 15, Bailey Thorpe 11, Isaiah Boling 5, Jared McMakin 4, Harrison Awe 3, Seth Caraway 2, Jake Hillebrenner 1.
Sub-Varsity Notes: The Van Alstyne freshman team, led by Michael Hensley’s 23-point effort, locked up the district title with a 41-19 win over Pilot Point.
In junior-varsity action, Anthony Novillo scored 13 points and Jacob Williams added 10, but the Panthers lost to Pilot Point, 56-39.
Van Alstyne 71. Caddo Mills 62.
The Van Alstyne Panthers, traveled to Caddo Mills last Tuesday night, closing out the regular season with a 71-62, overtime win over the Running Foxes.
Caddo Mills, looking to stave off a zero-win season in District 12-2A play, came out on fire for its senior night game.
The Foxes took a 34-29 lead to the halftime break, fell behind in the third quarter, then rallied to force another overtime game on the Panthers.
Overtime and a frenzied crowed working against you, no problem as the Panthers outscored Caddo Mills, 12-3 in the extra period to post their 25th win of the season.
Van Alstyne will meet Tom Bean, the District 11-2A’s third place finisher, in the playoffs next week.
Van Alstyne 9 20 21 9 12-71
Caddo Mills 17 17 11 14 3-62
VA(25-3)(9-2) Isaiah Boling 13, Jared McMakin 12, Zach Davis 11, Colin McCaskill 9, Seth Caraway 9, Bailey Thorpe 8, Jake Hillebrenner 7, Will Jones 2